John Sheridan of The National Archives has published Using Data to Understand How the Statute Book Works, Legal Information Management, 14, 244-248 (2014).
Here is the abstract:
The statute book is a large, complex system; a vast corpus of texts dating back to the thirteenth century, now evolving at a rate of around 100,000 words a month. The volume and pace of change combine with the constraints of current generation of digital tools to present a real barrier to researchers, limiting the type of research that is currently possible. The statute book is simply too big, and changes too rapidly, for any one person to easily comprehend. This situation is transformed if you view legislation as data, and then apply big data technologies and new data analysis techniques to that data. The aim of the Big Data for Law research project is to do just that; applying the latest analytical techniques to legislation, making it possible to research, interrogate and understand the statute book as a whole system. An important part of the initiative is to make available the raw data for conducting this type of research, alongside new tools and methods for working with the content. In this article, John Sheridan, Head of Legislation Services at The National Archives, sets out some of the ideas that underpin the project and describes the new service that researchers can use from Spring 2015.